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Press Release

Previously-convicted felon found guilty of illegally carrying a gun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Defendant faces possible minimum prison sentence of 15 years

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Chatham County man faces a possible sentence of at least 15 years in prison after a federal jury convicted him of illegally carrying a gun.

Dontray Lewis, 43, of Savannah, was convicted after a three-day jury trial on one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. If Lewis is adjudicated as an armed career criminal based on his history of multiple felony convictions, he could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Gun-carrying criminals like Dontray Lewis are a malignant source of much of the violent crime in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Their claim is always that they need to carry a gun ‘for protection,’ but with our law enforcement partners we will continue to work to protect our streets from gun-wielding felons.”

As described in evidence presented during the three-day trial in U.S. District Court, Lewis was found to have possessed a loaded Glock semiautomatic pistol and additional loaded magazines when Savannah Police officers stopped his vehicle for traffic violations in May 2020. Lewis is prohibited from possessing firearms because of prior felony convictions. The jury deliberated for approximately six hours before finding Lewis guilty.

Sentencing for Lewis before U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker will be scheduled upon completion of a pre-sentence investigation by U.S. Probation Services.

“It is our duty to make this community a safer place for you and your families,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge  Beau Kolodka “The safety of the public is at the core of ATF’s mission and we stand at the front line eradicating violent crime from our streets.  One firearm in the hands of the wrong person or prohibited person is one firearm too many."

“This conviction further underscores the importance of our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Lenny Gunther, Savannah Police Chief. “The successful conviction of an individual in Savannah who was illegally in possession of a firearm is further evidence of the value of the recently approved partnership that will bring on an additional prosecutor to get those committing federal gun crimes off our streets.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Savannah Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank M. Pennington II and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daron J. Hubbard.

This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer.

Contact

Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422

Updated August 26, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 116-22